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NOAA-Supported Ghost Trap Rodeo Celebrates Successful Marine Debris Roundup

MARCH 29, 2019 — On March 23, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Florida and Caribbean regional coordinator, Charles Grisafi, participated in the fifth “Ghost Trap Rodeo” event in Tampa, Florida.

A man pulling a crab trap out of water.
Ghost Trap Rodeo volunteer removes a derelict blue crab trap from the mouth of the Alafia River. Image credit: NOAA.

With support from a Marine Debris Program removal grant, Ocean Aid 360 and the Coastal Conservation Association Florida are hosting a series of “rodeos," or ocean-based competitions, to find and remove ghost fishing gear and other marine debris from the Tampa Bay Estuary. The rodeos are organized like shallow water fishing tournaments. But, instead of weighing in fish, event participants weigh in abandoned crab traps, fishing gear, and other forms of marine debris, with a chance at winning industry-sponsored prizes.  

The March 23 event was a huge success! Boaters, anglers, industry representatives, and children from the local community participated, collectively removing over 4,800 pounds of derelict crab traps and other forms of marine debris. Across the five Ghost Trap Rodeo events, volunteers have gathered nearly 16,000 pounds of marine debris from locations throughout the Tampa Bay estuary. NOAA looks forward to the next rodeo in Boca Ciega Bay on April 27.

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Last updated Friday, June 14, 2019 2:06pm PDT